New Stephen King Movie Is Sitting On The Shelf At Warner Bros

By Sean Thiessen | Updated

Salem’s Lot (1979)

There is plenty of new horror headed to cinemas this Halloween season. Exorcist: The Believer, Five Nights at Freddy’s, and Saw X will come out to haunt audiences, but notably missing from the lineup is Warner Bros. Discovery’s adaptation of the Stephen King classic Salem’s Lot. As reported by JoBlo, the film was pushed from its initial release date and now sits off the calendar and on the shelf.

A new adaptation of Stephen King’s vampire classic, Salem’s Lot, was supposed to be released last year, but has been delayed multiple times.

Annabelle Comes Home director Gary Dauberman went into production on the Stephen King adaptation in September of 2021, with reshoots coming in the spring of 2022. Warner Bros. Discovery then pushed Salem’s Lot from its September 2022 release date to the spring of 2023, citing COVID-related delays in post-production.

The Stephen King film then lost out to another classic revival. Nearly one year ago to the day, WBD announced that Salem’s Lot’s spring slot would instead be filled instead by Evil Dead Rise.

Now Salem’s Lot is missing from WBD’s calendar altogether.

This latest Stephen King adaptation is presumably in the can, and perhaps even complete. The studio teased footage from the film at CinemaCon last spring, and test screenings of Salem’s Lot have reportedly gone over well with audiences.

One could speculate about the reasons for the delay all day. Maybe the market is too crowded. Maybe the studio is not happy with the film. Maybe Gary Dauberman was turned into a vampire. Anything is possible.

Warner Bros. Discovery has given no official reason why the Stephen King film is now missing from release calendars.

The more likely reason is money. Nearly every major Hollywood studio has turned to unpopular cost-cutting strategies in the past year, including the cancellations and total disappearances of high-profile movies and streaming TV shows. 

Warner Bros. Discovery’s practices have been especially illuminated in the public eye, and it is no stretch to imagine that the choice to keep the Stephen King project on the shelf has more to do with the company’s books than with the quality of Dauberman’s Salem’s Lot.

Again, one can only speculate.

Salem’s Lot (1979)

Whatever the hold-up may be, fans of Stephen King, Gary Dauberman, and the horror genre are eager for the issue to resolve. Salem’s Lot is one of King’s quintessential works. Though it was only the author’s second published novel, he has long regarded it as one of his favorites.

Its story follows a writer named Ben Mears, who grew up in the town of Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine (‘Salem’s Lot for short). Mears returns to the small town to turn a haunting childhood experience into a piece of writing, only to find the house he once called home inhabited by an ancient vampire feasting upon the community.

Stephen King’s second published novel was Salem’s Lot, and it’s still considered one his best, but the novel has aged better then the original mini-series.

Stephen King was inspired to create the scenario of the haunted writer by a horrifying dream he had as a child. As for the vampire element, King was teaching Bram Stoker’s Dracula in a fantasy and science fiction course when he wondered what would happen if the dark lord returned in the 20th century. The result was Salem’s Lot.

King’s novel has previously been adapted for television, once in 1979 and again in 2004. The new film version stars Lewis Pullman, Mackenzie Leigh, Pilou Asbaek, and more as they take on vampires in 1975, the same year the novel was released. The film is produced by Michael Clear, Roy Lee, Mark Wolper, and James Wan.